The Erie Canal . The ditch that changed America. By Luciano D’Orazio CS 150 Charles James Fox School Bronx, NY. New York State Learning Standards.
The ditch that changed America
CS 150 Charles James Fox School
“As yet…we can only crawl along the outer shell of our country. The interior excels the part we inhabit in soil, in climate, in everything.”
“If it be important that the inhabitants of the same country should be bound together by a community of interests…that agriculture should find a sale for its commodities; manufacturers a vent for their fabrics; and commerce a market for its commodities; it is your incumbent duty, to open, facilitate and improve internal navigation.”
DeWitt Clinton, in an address to supporters at the City Hotel, New York City - 1815
Such a large canal has never been attempted before.
The canal is too expensive and would not be profitable.
The government should not fund projects meant for private businesses.
The canal would increase New York’s power at the expense of the rest of the country.
“Why sir, here is a canal for a few miles, projected by George Washington, which if completed, would render this a fine commercial city, which has languished for many years because the small sum of 200,000 dollars necessary to complete it, cannot be obtained from the general government, the state government, or from individuals--and you talk of making a canal 350 miles through the wilderness--it is a little short of madness to think of it at this day."
--Thomas Jefferson, replying to New York Assemblyman Joshua Foreman’s request for federal money for the Erie Canal project. 1808
“It is rather supposed that they mean to open a road to the Presidency than a Canal from the lakes.”
James A. Bayard, US Senator from Delaware, writing to Caesar Rodney, December 12, 1811
“(This canal is) so visionary and absurd that no rational man for one moment could seriously entertain it.”
Martin van Buren, New York politician, leader of Tammany Hall and bitter enemy of DeWitt Clinton, circa 1812.
How much would a laborer make in a year?
How much would a Principal Engineer make in a day?
These are two examples of locks at the town of Lockport. the Presidency than a Canal from the lakes.”
How do you think they were used to move boats over high areas?
These are pictures of the Schoharie Aqueduct (left) and the Rexford Aqueduct (below).
What kinds of structures does each aqueduct have in common?
“(New Yorkers) have built the longest canal, in the least time, with the least experience, for the least money, and for the greatest public benefit.”
“The canal is the greatest thing this country has done; it’s the greatest thing it will ever do.”
Walter D. Edmonds, 1929